Marek from eastern Slovakia found himself in financial troubles. To solve them, he was looking for a job but with no success. In summer 2013, he was approached by Laco – his acquaintance who had already been living in England for a long time and came to Slovakia just for holidays. He offered Marek an opportunity to earn some money in Bradford working as a construction worker. Marek was told that he could live at Laco’s place and did not have to arrange anything apart from getting to the place. Marek liked the offer so he left Slovakia.

After the arrival, everything looked very promising. The accommodation was not ideal as there was no hot water, but Laco promised that it was just temporary. Marek did not sign any employment contract, he just handed in his documents and immediately began working as a bricklayer on a private site belonging to a man from Pakistan. However, after a few days this man got quite aggressive, he even hit Marek several times. He forced Marek to work from early morning until late night. Marek slept too little and had to work even when sick. He was paid 20 pounds a week, but he had to hand the money to Laco as an installment for the rent and modest food. Marek was trying to stand up for his rights and wanted to leave several times. Laco did not seem to object. However, he never forgot to remind Marek that without him and his money, he would be left on the street where anything could happen to him. Laco also warned Marek that if got caught by the English police, he would go straight to prison.

Marek successfully escaped in late autumn and was living in street in Bradford. While living there he was beaten up by a group of strangers so badly that he ended up in hospital with broken ankles. At the end of December, social workers from CRI Reconnections learnt about him and offered him help. Marek was still afraid to cooperate with the police and he would have no place to live after being discharged from hospital. Therefore CRI Reconnections assisted him with obtaining his documents and buying a plane ticket. They also asked IOM Bratislava to urgently help this a client who was in a very vulnerable situation. Marek arrived in Slovakia on 31 December 2013, he spent the New Years´ Eve in safe accommodation and was able to join his family after New Year.

(Names were changed for security reasons.)

More information on IOM activities in Counter-trafficking in Human Beings.

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IOM Bratislava implements the Programme of Return and Reintegration for Trafficked Persons as a part of the national Programme of Support and Protection for victims of Human Trafficking, which is financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. Operation of the National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings 0800 800 818 is financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. Technical operation of the helpline is provided by Slovak Telekom, a. s.